Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I Can Knit That

Have you ever *not* bought a sweater from a store or catalog because you thought you could knit it yourself?

While looking through the latest collection of catalogs that have started to clog my mailbox in anticipation of the holiday season, I realized I can no longer look at Knitted Objects in any catalog without first dissecting how they are constructed. Then I decide whether or not I can knit them. This mental game, which began when I started knitting, has become more and more gratifying: if I can figure out how a commercial sweater has been knit, (1) I feel fairly confident I can knit it and (2) I don't have the urge to buy it!

For example, my favorite store is J.Jill. I swear that half my wardrobe is from this store because they carry petite sizes in such cute clothes that can easily go from weekend (very important) to weekday. All right, I will end the plug there. Anyway. Look at the interestingly named Textured Purl-Knit Cardigan to the left. I can knit that. Chances are, I can buy the cotton yarn at a discount for less than the $68 retail price (labor cost is another matter). But why buy something as simple as a reverse stockinette, nay, Purl-Knit, sweater for that much?

On the other hand, please look closely - you'll need to click on the link to zoom - at the intriguing Hooded Aran Isle Cardigan from the Sundance catalog. Only $288. It looks like it is knit sideways with cables and other textured stitches. Hmmmmmm. I'd like to knit that. The sideways concept is not difficult and I've done it already. However I want to figure out how to knit the sleeves without breaking up the cable pattern. I've seen a shrug pattern in IK that is similar so I'm going to do a little research.

Would I consider buying the $288 "Aran Isle"? Heavens, no. I enjoy spending money but even I think that's excessive. I would rather spend the cash on good yarn to knit it myself. Natch.

Until the next day in the life...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Two Steps Forward... step back. Last night I discovered a hole in the Tivoli Tee. Drat! Not just one hole, even, there were two! Methinks my eyes thus crossed while driving back from Oregon on Sunday afternoon. I was almost done, but in addition to the holes I didn't like the way I had done the increases (which created the holes!) so I ripped back maybe 20 rows. I am annoyed but relieved. Those holes would have really bothered me. I was hoping to finish Tivoli for this month's project and it's still doable but I've got to focus. Do swatches count as FOs? They should, I've done several of them. I am planning to use the Gedifra I bought in Switzerland for a zip cardigan I found in Vogue Knitting. I would send you the link but VK has one of the worst knitting magazine sites I have seen yet.

Oh, I'm back in Oregon today for work this time. It's a long day when you get up at 5am, travel 4 hours, attend a 2-hour meeting, then travel back for another 3 or 4 hours. I brought some knitting with me but I am restless. I was working on the Carolina Blue socks, the one that I had done the Figure 8 Cast On for. I have since switched from the Magic Loop to DPNs for one of the socks. However, the DPNs are 8-inchers. I wrestled more with the needles and the yarn tangling in them than I did actual knitting so I think I will switch back to Magic Loop for both socks (single, not at the same time).

OK, getting close to boarding time. Until the next day in the life....

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Spinsters and the Knitters in the Sun

-- William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act II Scene IV.

Busy, busy! Last Friday, a group of us took the afternoon off and drove up to Ashland, Oregon for the season's end of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We saw two shows, Twelfth Night and Room Service. The experience of seeing Twelfth Night in an outdoor theater was fantastic. We bundled up in warm clothes and brought blankets and seat cushions. Our seats were in the balcony; lucky for us the slight overhang prevented us from getting wet during the first couple of acts as a light rain fell upon everyone below. We sipped on hot chocolate while watching a mesmerizing production. The set and costumes were excellent and the acting was superb. Room Service was a completely different play, set in 1930's New York on Broadway about the antics of a play producer who connives various hotel managers to let his actors stay in the hotel and produce his show. It was hilarious, fast-paced and fun.

When we weren't watching the plays, we were enjoying some of the sights in and around Ashland. We hiked a trail up Brown Mountain before shopping in the quaint downtown area. I was keen on visiting The Web*sters, the local yarn store located in Ashland's historical district. I have ordered from Web*sters before for hard-to-find Lantern Moon needles and some books. I was expecting to find a small, charming shop. Instead I walked into one of the largest modern yarn stores I have visited so far with beautiful hardwood floors, shelves almost floor to ceiling, well-lit and easy to move around areas. The variety of yarn made my head spin with high-end name brands like Adrienne Vittadini and Colinette. Their collection of Noro alone took my breath away. I loved that they had swatches of most yarns. Samples of sweaters, purses and scarves were on the shelves or hanging on racks so that you could easily touch, survey and try on. None were for sale but each had a card with the pattern name, yarn, size, yardage and estimated cost to knit.

The store was so large they had a section for artsy clothes and accessories and the front glass counter was filled with jewelry. This was not a cozy store where people could gather to knit. There were no comfy sofas or chairs. There was a huge back room with a large table used for classes but it didn't look like anyone could just walk in and knit. That was disappointing but I can understand why. Web*sters has tremendous foot traffic since it's smack dab in the middle of a very popular, touristy shopping plaza. The prices were not cheap. A little girl of about 8 or 10 was in the store with her mother. She apparently had just learned to knit, wanted to make herself a sweater and asked the sales person for yarn around $3. None were to be had! In fact, the least expensive yarn was around $5 and that was on sale. I felt bad for the girl. I myself was so overwhelmed with yarn choices that I became as useless as a bunny paralyzed with fright. I did not buy huge amounts of yarn, just a Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton pattern book (the one with Klaralund), size 0 Addi's for socks, and a couple of balls of Touch Me to keep company with the matching ball of it at home. However, I hope I don't regret not buying any Noro.

Finally On the way home from Ashland, we took the long way back to Sacramento by visiting Burney Falls and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Pictures will have to come at a later date. I forgot to put batteries in my digital camera after I recharged them, duh, so the only camera I had was my Ricoh 28mm compact. It will take at least a week to get the film developed. I'll save my review of those parks for when I post the pictures.

Hey, did I tell you I did some knitting over the weekend too? Road trips are great for knitting! I am almost finished with Tivoli and I swatched the Alpaca Silk for the Bed & Breakfast Pullover from the Winter 2003 Interweave Knits. I also swatched for the Ballet Pullover from the Summer 2004 IK. There are a couple of other patterns that I want to swatch for before deciding what I'm going to knit next.

Whew, well I have more to write but it'll have to wait for another day. Hope you all are having a good week!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sweater Wizard Review, Revised

I owe a huge apology to Carol Wulster - the creator of several knitting software products - because I wrote a very amateur, ignorant review of Sweater Wizard earlier this summer. Patience is not one of my virtues and it cost me the effort of knitting a tank top last month because I did not take the time to thoroughly figure out how to use Sweater Wizard's features. Not to mention that I gave false information about the software. Horrible. And I thought I was being a good journalist!

In the earlier post, I said my biggest peeves were (1) I couldn't enter my measurements other than my bust size and (2) I had to figure out the waist shaping on my own, manually. The truths are, while the only measurement you are prompted for is your bust size, you can change ANY measurement in the schematic and it will adjust the number of rows and stitches automatically; secondly, in version 3.0 (which I purchased) there is an option to select 2 types of body shaping - standard and hourglass. This too is customizable.

Here is what the v-neck tank top original pattern looked like before I made my own adjustments to the torso measurements. Note that the length is 12 inches between the bottom of the armhole to the top of the ribbing which corresponds to 60 rows starting from the cast-on edge based on my gauge.

Now I simply change the 12 inches to 8 inches and select hourglass shaping of 14 inches. I hit enter and voila....notice how the number of rows for the torso has changed and how the schematic now reflects the pulled-in waist. Of course, the pattern directions are updated too.

I discovered this when I joined the Sweater Wizard group on Yahoo. Ai caramba. Sometimes one must, as we say at work, think outside the box. I was being too guy-like in my approach to the software: it must be intuitive; it has to be plug-n-play. Otherwise I actually have to think or, god forbid, ask for directions.

What does this mean? You know very well. I'm frogging the tank top (which I was sort of embarassed to show you anyway because I didn't think it came out right) and re-knitting it using a pattern created the proper way. Don't hold your breath, though. This is probably going to be next summer's repentant project. I'm itching to knit a wool sweater or two for fall/winter. You ladies knitting the Frieda are making me anxious!

Until the next day in the life.....

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I'm liking this mid-1980's Madonna-esque photo of the Tivoli. What do you think? Maybe I should stop knitting now. All I need are black dangly accessories and a big ribbon in my hair. Not to mention a blonde wig. And..well, I could go on but I won't. Actually there are things about this that disturb me a little, like what should I do about the armholes? I picked up extra stitches on both sides of both armholes to avoid a gap in the corners, but it definitely looks like there are still gaps. Also, you can see where I changed yarn in between the boobs. I'm hoping this will go away with a bit of proper blocking.

I'm concerned that the waist shaping will not actually correspond with my waist. I haven't made any changes to this pattern except the accidental issue that I somehow didn't end up with enough stitches after casting on at the armholes (6 stitches short). After counting umpteen times, I finally decided it was going to be OK. I was worried the torso portion was going to be a little big anyway because I'm in-between pattern sizes (it goes from 28" to 32" and of course I need the 30"). I am not griping about the pattern! Please don't think that. So far it's been pretty easy, minus my brain burp about the cast-on. I'm just whining that my size is hard to come by. You've heard this before so I'll leave it at that.

Well now. How can you tell when you've been shopping just a little too much? When you leave your package, nay, your large box, that arrived yesterday of expensive new clothes that you bought on a whim on a business trip on your front porch overnight even though you saw it there as you pulled into your driveway. *yeah* Just another package.

I'm going to rip open that box of goodies now.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Second Wind

[Warning: Long Post]
This is post numero dos for today, this must be a Personal Best. Agnes has pulled me out of the blogging rut by tagging me. Agnes, by the way, has some inspiring photos of her most recent knitted works. Go see them. The woman has been knitting for only a year. That blows me away.

Here are the questions. Along with some answers.

TEN YEARS AGO:I quit my job and started graduate school full time. I had applied to 3 schools, was accepted by all, offered a whopping $30K scholarship to UCLA but turned it down to go to my beloved alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I was so happy to do something completely of my own choosing, my own will and desire. Graduate school was a heady, fullfilling time of my life.

FIVE YEARS AGO:My relationship with Karl was getting rocky. I had begun working in a new subsidiary of my company and it was just like a start-up. I had no idea what I was doing, my love life was on its way to disaster and even though company stock was spirally downwards I bought a new car. I thought nothing would ever be as difficult as that year.

ONE YEAR AGO:I was getting ready to cut loose on my sabbatical with only a couple of weeks left at work. I had spent months planning a very full schedule in which I was home for only 3 weeks. My sabbatical consisted of hopping on a plane to Australia (Brisbane, Coolangatta, Cairns and Port Douglas) with a friend and my brother; hopping on another plane to New Zealand (with Karl, to drive the entire perimeter of the South Island), hopping on a plane to Las Vegas, hopping on a plane to North Carolina and Massachusetts for Christmas. I love airports.

FIVE SNACKS:Do I really have to say? This is so embarrassing. Karl says I am not one to eat healthy snacks. No wonder I have to run 5 days a week.

  • Crazy by Patsy Cline

  • In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel

  • Leaving Las Vegas by Sheryl Crow

  • Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around the World by U2

  • Superman by REM

  • Buy a resort home for my parents in the Philippines and buy them in new house in Chapel Hill

  • Buy resort homes for me and Karl in New Zealand and Whistler, BC

  • Share the wealth with my brothers and set up trust funds

  • Contribute to charities

  • Travel all over the world


  • Kauai, Hawaii

  • Bald Head Island, North Carolina

  • Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand

  • Vancouver, BC

  • Yosemite National Park

  • Fur

  • White platform sandals

  • A Corset

  • Edible Undies

  • Body Piercings

  • Law and Order

  • Sportscenter

  • CSI

  • Sopranos

  • Nigella Lawson (she's funny and sexy while she heroine)

  • Being able to travel

  • Writing about whatever comes to mind

  • Being fit, healthy and safe

  • Being with Karl

  • Friends/Family

  • My cameras (they count as 1 entity)

  • Knitting stuff (also an umbrella category)

  • My road bike

  • My laptop

  • My heart rate monitor

OK, OK...Cyndi, Linda and Violet, consider yourselves tagged. This is a long one, though, so don't feel obligated. I know you're all busy.

Enjoy the week, happy knitting!

Ho Hum

Not a lot going on knitting-wise in my corner of the world. I have been working on the Tivoli t-shirt and have had several debates with myself about what I should be doing with it...what kind of cast-on for the armholes, if I should try long sleeves, whether I should shorten up the torso. In the end I have not made any changes but my mind has certainly attempted different things. I decided not to do long sleeves after I found the Ballet Pullover pattern in the Interweave Knits Summer '04 issue. As far shortening the torso goes...well, this will just be longer t-shirt on me. I didn't think about shortening it until I reached the waist decreases and the thought of frogging doesn't appeal to me right now. We'll see. I'll try it on tonight.

Not sure exactly what's going on with the blogging thing. I think I'm in a funk. I haven't been keeping up to date with everyone's blogs. I want to, but I don't have as much "down time" at work as before. Which is the way it should be, right? Problem is, I don't have that much time after work either. I've been shopping.

Today's picture is a random selection from my album. This is Sally. We adopted her my senior year in college (undergrad) back in 1989. She died in March 2003. Sally was part Lab, part some-kind-of-snow-dog. She was very loyal to us, loved bounding around the backyard after a snowfall, kept my mother company on her walks and defended our house admirably with her intimidating, deep bark. Sally also farted like nobody's business. She would sit in the family room while we were watching TV and let one fly. Then look around to see if anyone noticed.

Until the next day in the life....

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Knitting and Blogging on the Road....

....are more challenging than you might think. I try to keep my knitting accoutrements to a minimum when I travel but sometimes that means I don't have something I need. The other night while I was working on the Tivoli, I came to the part where I'm supposed to cast on stitches for the armhole. I've cast-on in the middle of projects before, but for some reason I totally blanked out on this. I wanted one of my reference books to double-check and I didn't have it with me! Hate that. It was a total brain fry. I had to put the knitting away.

Then there is the small matter of making sure, wherever you are, that you have network connectivity. The next best thing to having a knitting reference book on you is to have access to the Internet to look up what you are forgetting. Not having Internet access is REALLY FRUSTRATING, especially when you are supposedly a techie person who can figure this out. Networks, though, are not my forte. I was very mad on Tuesday morning because, after I got the wireless to work at the hotel on Monday, it didn't work on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or today. Crappy thing!

This means I am blogging at work where I am hardwired. It's almost like a shot of morphine....ahhhhh, Internet, ahhhhh.

Well, the business trip is almost over. It's been hectic because we packed a lot in a few days. Not to mention always eating out - this takes up time. If I were by myself I'd just have a sandwich or a bagel but on this trip I've had full meals every night.

FYI, on the knitting and planes. I've been taking bamboo needles with me and no one has given me a problem. *knock on wood* I've flown on Southwest, America West and American Airlines this year and so far it's been easy. Have any of you had issues with flying and taking your knitting?

All right, better get back to work. Until the next day in the life....

Sunday, September 11, 2005


38.3 is today's date in "Lynette years". What I love about having a birthday in early September is that it's part of the change in the seasons - a welcome relief from the oppressive heat, some autumn colors beginning to appear, just a hint of winter. Even in the Sacramento area the weather has become cooler and just a few miles up the hill on Highway 50, the low shrubbery is turning a deep purple red.

Now that it's no longer in the 90s, I can think about projects for fall knitting. I went to my yarn room the other day and was amazed at all the pretty, nice and sumptuous yarns in my stash. I picked out a bunch and moved them into my bedroom stash (yes, yes, I have 2 stashes). My bedroom stash is the pile of yarn that eventually become actual projects. The Manos is there, along with 2 different types of Noro, the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk from Sherry, the LL Lion and Lamb that I bought from Caitlyn, the Gedifra I picked up in Switzerland and some sock yarn. Potential projects are the Shoalwater Shawl using the LL, a couple of oversized cardigans (Manos, Gedifra), a cabled sweater (DB). Of course I could change my mind at any point.

The current knitting front is busy but manageable. On the needles are a pair of socks that I started on magic loop. I have since separated the socks - one on magic loop and the other on 8" Inox. I still maintain that shorter DPNs are better for my little hands. It's just that Inox doesn't make short size 1 DPNs. Also on the needles are the humble beginnings of Tivoli. If any of you have been considering this pattern, especially since Grumperina published it as Picovoli on MagKnits, you are more than welcome to join the Tivoli KAL. I finished the Phoenix tank and found the answer to the plunging V-neck in Ann Budd's A Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. No pictures of it yet, I need to block the neck. That may be next time.

Over the Labor Day weekend Karl and I were busy purchasing this. Then he promptly left the country for a quick business trip to Japan. I haven't driven it at all this week in fear of something happening to it in the parking lot at work (that's what happened the last time I drove a new car into work). We also went on a pretty hike in the Berkeley Hills before catching the BART to see the Oakland A's get pounded by the Evil Empire (Yankees). This weekend I celebrated my 38th by going on a 12-mile run on Saturday. Just to prove I still had the legs. However, afterwards I felt a little tired. Then I found myself looking at this. Little Kitty has been a terror all weekend long.

Well, I've got to get going on a bike ride this morning. It's sunny where I am but probably overcast where we're going, brrrr. Hope you all have a good week, I'll try to post from Arizona.

Until the next day in the life....

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No Yarn Budget This Month

That's because my yarn budget has been allocated to a much more worthy cause - a donation to the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Katrina Fund. Even better, my company will match the donation.

I was really out of touch with what was going on in the Gulf coast states last week, but now that I've caught up with the rest of the nation it feels like someone kicked me in the gut. I lived through a hurricane that took an unexpected turn from the North Carolina seaboard and travelled inland. I grew up taking tropical storms, flooding and tornados spawned by hurricanes for granted because they happened so often and we knew how to deal with the after affects, more or less. The conditions resulting from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi are deplorable and shocking. I feel very helpless here, donation or not. I wish there was something more tangible that I could do.

Isn't it weird that life goes on even in the face of tragedy? While we go about our normal routine, whether it's sitting at our desks at work, dropping the kids off at school, or attending class ourselves it's really distracting to know there is a more important, critical event going on and people's lives are at stake. I would rather be working on that and trying to make a difference instead of wondering what I'm going to do about dinner.

So I was going to tell you about my weekend and the latest knitting news, but I don't feel it's appropriate. It's a bit belated but consider this my little candle being lit for the people of Hurricane Katrina: may they find comfort and solace from all the prayers and thoughts directed their way, food and shelter from helping hands generously extended.